State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-2) of Newark welcomed Gov. Chris Christie’s vow today to restore $139 million in transitional aid to cities, but he wants the governor to engage with particular vigilance on the oversight portion of his promise.
“I’ve been arguing accountability with this budget from the beginning,” said Rice. “We should do transitional aid but someone needs to compel DCA to do a compliance audit in Newark. We are losing money from the statewide perspective in Newark. I agree with the governor about accountability but I have to see that language because to this point, when it comes to Newark, the governor wants selective accountability.”
Rice said the governor’s relationship with Newark Mayor Cory Booker prevents him from applying appropriate vigorous oversight of how the state distributes transitional aid in the state’s biggest city.
“I don’t know what his language is,” said Rice. “I will support any language to get accountability but he needs to get into Newark. He refuses to look at Newark. It’s nice for him and Cory to be flying around the country together but he needs to get in here and hold this administration accountable.”
Other Democrats noted with some distress that they did leave in language guaranteeing state oversight of funds, underlining the language as they presented it to the front office with the budget: “The transitional aid shall be provided to the municipality subject to such conditions, requirements, orders, and oversight as the Director deems necessary including the implementation of government, administrative and operational efficiency and oversight measures necessary for the fiscal recovery of the municipality.”